WTTC ranks Paris as the world’s most powerful city destination

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According to new World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) research, Paris is the world’s most powerful city destination, but it will be surpassed by Beijing by 2032.

The report, sponsored by Visa and conducted in collaboration with Oxford Economics, examined key indicators such as the contribution of travel and tourism to GDP, employment, and traveller spending.

As countries closed their borders in response to the pandemic, COVID-19 had a devastating impact on travel and tourism, particularly in major cities around the world.

Many leisure travellers swapped city visits for less-populated destinations such as coastal and rural destinations as borders reopened, but new WTTC research shows that city holidays are back and growing in popularity.

In terms of direct GDP contribution, Paris is the world’s most powerful city destination, with a Travel & Tourism sector worth nearly $36BN USD in 2022.

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WTTC predicts that it will fall to third place over the next ten years, despite increasing in value to more than $49 billion.

Beijing is currently the world’s second most popular city destination, with a travel and tourism industry worth nearly $33 billion. WTTC, on the other hand, predicts that it will surpass Paris within the next ten years, growing to a staggering $77BN.

Orlando’s Travel & Tourism sector was valued at $31BN in 2022, but despite predictions that it will grow by nearly 50% to $45BN by 2032, it will drop down to become the world’s fourth largest city destination.

Over the last decade, China’s national travel and tourism sector has grown exponentially as the country has invested in new hotels, transportation infrastructure, and tourist destinations.

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With this investment in Travel & Tourism, Shanghai’s sector, which was worth nearly $30 billion last year, is expected to more than double to nearly $71 billion by 2032, making it the world’s second most powerful city destination.

Las Vegas is the only city in the top ten that has maintained its position, remaining as the fifth largest city destination.

The travel and tourism industry in Las Vegas was worth nearly $23 billion last year, and it is expected to grow to more than $36 billion by 2032.

“Major cities such as London, Paris and New York will remain global powerhouses but over the next few years, Beijing, Shanghai, and Macau will be moving up the list of top city destinations. Tourists will always have favourite cities that they will return to, but as other countries prioritise Travel & Tourism, we are going to see new and emerging destinations challenging the traditional favourites.”

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO

Other cities outside the top ten that are showing promising growth as emerging destinations include Warsaw, Poland’s capital, which has seen a 14.4% increase in GDP contribution in 2022 compared to 2019.

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Sanya, a Chinese coastal city that has become a popular tourist destination in recent years as visitors flock to its beautiful beaches, experienced a 10.2% increase during the same time period. Its Travel & Tourism sector accounts for an astounding 43.6% of the city’s total economy. The travel and tourism industry in Macau accounts for 40.4% of the city’s total economy.

Orlando and Las Vegas are the only cities in the top ten most powerful city destinations based on the value of the sector, and both rely heavily on it as a share of the city’s overall economy.

Travel and tourism accounts for 20.4% of the Orlando economy and 16.3% of the Las Vegas economy. In comparison, the Travel & Tourism sector in Paris will account for only 3.5% of the capital’s economy in 2022.

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The top ten cities in terms of international travel spending in 2022 were:

  1. Dubai – $29.42BN
  2. Doha – $16.79BN
  3. London – $16.07BN
  4. Macau – $15.58BN
  5. Amsterdam – $13.59BN
  6. Istanbul – $13.13BN
  7. Barcelona – $12.73BN
  8. New York – $12.45BN
  9. Singapore – $10.97BN
  10. Paris – $9.76BN

WTTC predicts that by 2032, the top five cities with the highest international traveler spend will be:

  1. Hong Kong – $52.06BN (up 38 places from 2022)
  2. Macau – $43.14BN (up two places from 2022)
  3. Dubai – $42.98BN (down two places from 2022)
  4. Singapore – $37.43BN (up five places from 2022)
  5. Bangkok – $33.45BN (up seven places from 2022)
  6. Doha – $31.63BN (down four places from 2022)
  7. Tokyo $25.44BN (up 30 places from 2022)
  8. New York $21.73BN (no change from 2022)
  9. Amsterdam $21.53BN (down four places from 2022)
  10. Shanghai – $21.3BN (up 11 places from 2022)

Travel and tourism is on track to become a key driver of economic growth again over the next decade, with faster GDP growth than other sectors and the creation of 126 million new jobs globally.

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